(2012 Class Photo!)
Welcome Back, Dance Fans! Have you missed me? I have missed you. I'm so glad we are finally ready to meet our Season 9 Top 20 in this very special 200th episode of our Show of Shows. Some have asked me why I don't recap the SYTYCD audition and Vegas rounds and it's mostly because every year they introduce a ton of dancers who don't make it through and it's traumatic and we get to a Top 20 with several people we've never even seen before. Suffice to say, the auditions rounds happened. Lots of people were awesome, lots of those awesome people were cut. And now we find ourselves here. We're currently at 35 and have to get down to 20. 15 dreams left to crush. Will your favorite dancer survive the Green Mile and dance for you on the live show? Welcome... to So You THINK You Can Dance! Cue the music and roll the credits!
Cat's on stage in an outfit that might also be some kind of art installation. It's pink and gold and white and sequins and stones... it's a lot of look. She of course makes it look beautiful. We love her!
(One of these things is not like the others.)
We have jidges! Mary Murphy, Conductor of the Hot Tomale Train. Executive Producer Nigel Lithgoe (evening, suh!) and for no real discernible reason... Zooey Deschanel. She is on hand to assess the quirkiness of the Top 20, I guess. We make a note that this year there will be two winners: A Guy and a Girl, which is fine with me because that's how they eliminate them throughout the season anyway. Cat throws us to a video recap of Vegas week and head to commercials!
We're back. It's time to meet our Top 10 Guys and Top 10 Gulls! Who's walking the long green mile first? Alexa! The final cut from last season. She had a lot of screen time in Vegas and the judges yelled at her until she cried - and the judges LOVED it! Did she finally make it? Of course she did! Good for her. Perseverance pays off.
The second person up is George. He had a great audition in Atlanta and then you basically never saw him in Vegas. But I remember him from that first audition, so that's a good sign!! He's in!!
The third guy is... tall. Seriously they blew by him so fast! His name is Will. Does anyone even know where he auditioned? I rewound and Cat throws in quickly he came through LA. He puts his hands on his face so quickly in astonishment I barely got a look at him. Well, maybe he'll stick around a few weeks so we can find out more about him.
Then we quickly axe two dancers. The awesome Meghan who the judges loved all the way until the end when she's suddenly not good enough. They also cut a cute boy named Colin whom the judges kept saying was the best, but the show editors never wanted us to actually see him dance. The judges hope he'll come back to us next year when maybe he'll actually get some screen time.
Amber now has dyed-blonde hair and tried out twice before with her natural coloredhair. She got cut in Vegas both times and thought she'd never audition again. But she couldn't let the dream go... and now it's her reality! She's in the top 20!
(Are we falling? Are we falling in love?)
Alexa Anderson, Amber Jackson, George Lawrence II, and Will Thomas are all in! So now that we have four contempos revealed, it's time for them to dance for us. They are doing a Tyce routine. Meh. It's set to a mellow version of We Found Love In A Hopeless Place, (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge Version) by Jessie J. I can't listen to this song without singing "We Found Drugs In A Wholesome Place." as alternate lyrics. Anyway, I don't like Tyce's choreo here. Nothing new in that statement. I would not like it in a box. I would not like it with a fox. And the dancers are all foxes! Still, they all manage to shine. They are seriously beaming with excitement to be there even if I'm not particularly taken with what they are given to do. George and Alexa really stand out for me, but I instantly like all four of them. When it's done, the judges say nothing of importance to them in their praise, so I won't be mentioning them again during this recap. After this rather short routine Giant Will is already a totally sweaty mess. Cat is gonna get drenched this season!
We have 16 dancers left to go before we get a Top 20 Dance Routine from MIA MICHAELS! Holy crap, Cat Deely. You can't just drop that on us so quickly and sneak off to commercials. At least we have a l break to recover and process MIA'S RETURN!
Have you gathered yourself? We are back. Let's check in with the ballroom kids next. Nick came to Vegas dressed in a tux and is gonna have a total emotional breakdown on the Green Mile if the judges don't pick him. He seriously can't even stand up in front of them. How's he gonna face America if he can't face the judges? I guess we'll find out, because he makes it. Thank goodness they picked him, otherwise he would've been headed to a mental hospital for 2 weeks of observation.
Ballroom BFF's Whitney and Lindsay are sent in to face the music together. The judges try to fake them out, saying they will only take one of them, but Mary is the one giving the news and she can't really mask her excitement that they both made it through!!
(hot hot heat!)
Witney Carson, Lindsay Arnold and Nick Bloxsom-Carter are all in! Dance #2. They are doing a trio dance by Jason Gilkinson to Dance Again by Jennifer Lopez featuring Pit Bull. Trios are always tough in ballroom, but I instantly love all three of them. Okay it must be noted that, Nick is no Pasha, but who among us besides Pasha is Pasha? Nobody. Nick's very boyish, instead of manly, but I think Nick has enough personality to grow over the course of the show. And Witney and Lindsay are both super super hot. They are ready to bring it. I especially love Witney. She is definitely one of my early favorites.
4 contempos and 3 Ballers stand revealed. 13 to go!!! Teasers before the commercials seem to indicate they are NOT gonna take both of the amazing ballet boys into the Top 20 which I think is MADNESS.
We return and get to the ballroom babies. Eliana is the pole-dancing ballet Cirque du Soleil girl! She is wearing amazing blue shoes as she stomps down the Green Mile to see the judges. She is in! YAY! Then we get to the two ballet boys who have basically given up their steady professional gigs to audition for the show. But the judges only have room for one! Really? If you were faced with Checon and Daniel, would you actually choose between them or just take them both? The judges aren't stupid. They take them both! We really haven't seen a whole lot of rejection tonight, have we?
(Black Swans, all dressed in white)
Daniel Baker, Eliana Girard and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp are all in! Dance #3. Ballet time!. They are Dancing to Romantic Inclinations / Like a Shot / Fury by P. Mottram S.Everitt G. Shadid and T. Marberger. Choreo is provided Desmond Richardson and his partner. Don't get me wrong, they are all powerhouses, but I think the routine looks a little off. Individually they all are gorgeous, but they're not locked in with the timing especially Daniel and Chehon. Chehon is a little slower than Daniel. Also, Eliana seems to wearing a tutu made out of scrap metal and glass shards that looks like it's designed to mortally wound her two dance partners. It's odd. Both guys look a little uncomfortable getting too close to its razor edges - especially Cheon. Still, I look forward to seeing all these three partnered and dancing in costumes not designed to kill anybody. 10 spots remain! Commercials begin!
We return and we now have to see who gets through for Jazz and Hip Hop. Jazz first! Tiffany and Audrey look almost identical. They are short. They have the same long wavy brown hair. They are both athletic dynamos. Tiffany gets in first making Audrey very nervous.But then Audrey gets in too! How will we be able to tell them apart on stage??
Then there's a bunch of people who are veteran auditioners who don't make it through. We hardly knew ye!
Then Janelle the belly dancer is walking the green mile. The show has never had a belly dancer... until now! Janelle maybe fake hits her head coming out to greet everyone still in the holding room. But maybe she did it for real? Hard to tell. Anyway. somehow she's sick and is not dancing in Meet the Top 20. A bad omen? Please, let's have an injury and illness free run of shows! I hate when people can't compete!
(Mirror Image Assassins!)
Commercial note: Bring It On The Musical which opens on Broadway August 1st features SYTYCD All-Star Neil Haskell! Don't miss it if you're in NYC. It's gonna be awesome!
Now, it's time for the Jazz boys to get the news. Joshua is up first. He's the one who basically almost died doing a flip at the end of Vegas Week. And he doesn't make it to Top 20! Nooo! Sadness! And then Jasmine, the girl whose brother was a veteran auditioner and got in that horrible car accident doesn't make it! NOOO!!! Oh, that one makes me really sad. I thought she was a gorgeous dancer and a shoo-in. Come back next year, girl!
Then Ryan Gosling gets in to the Top 20. Seriously, the dude looks just like him! Where was his video package in the earlier rounds? How'd I miss him? His real name is Matthew.
Then Dareian, the gorgeous boy with feet like bricks and nipples like daggers, is walking the Green Mile... and he gets in! He's not a tall guy at all, which can sometimes cause lifting issues, but he's super strong and has a great smile. He could go far!
With boys settled, we jump back to gulls. It's down to 3 girls for 2 spots, and the decision is between two girls you know and one girl you don't: Come-from-behind firecracker Janaya, Amelia the silent movie star and some other girl everyone on the panel insists is amazing. It's Amelia and Janaya who make it in. She has amazing alabaster skin that is gonna pop on stage in the group numbers. Mark my words!
(You can never have enough contempo dancers! They make up almost half the field!)
Matthew Kazmierczak, Dareian Kujawa, Janaya French and Amelia Lowe are all in! .Dance #5 Stacey Tookey Jazz. The music is Modern Drift by Efterklang. It's beautiful. There's this amazing spin jump that Amelia leaps into Darian's arms and it looks physically impossible that he could catch her that way but he does. And I was right. Amelia looks like a Stephenie Meyer vampire on the stage. Strong and beautiful. She's one to beat. Commercials!
We're back. 3 spots left for the guys, Dance Fans. Who will it be?? Well, it won't be a tapper. Both guys who made it to the Green Mile as tappers don't get any further. At least they can console each other on the way out. I bet when the judges asked to see them together they figured at least one of them was going through. That's rough.
So no tappa tappa tappa this year. But we do get our first ninja! Score! That would be Cole. I'm so happy he go through. I liked him since his first audition, but didn't see much of him in Vegas. And we also get our first stepper! That's awesome. His name is Brandon. He might have gotten the least screen time so far of any of the Top 20, but the few times they did show him, I had a feeling it was planting the seed for future awesomeness.
The final spot is either going to go Cyrus, who we have seen in clips and interviews for weeks, or this excellent dancer we've never talked to before. You will not be surprised to learn they choose Cyrus. You might be surprised to learn that with these three slots filled there are no straight up b-boys or hip hop dancers in this season/s Top 20. That's way crazier than having no tappers. I like that all these other dance stylists are featured this year, but we'll see how the dancers really adapt to different genres of dance.
(A whole new ballgame!)
Brandon Mitchell, Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer and Cole Horibe are all in! They are doing a baseball routine with choreo by Christopher Scott. The music is Resolve by Nathan Lanier. There's also an intro by an “announcer” over the track running play-by-play about the dancers. It's a very very cool routine highlighting all their unique talents. The whole thing then turns into a commercial for the All-Star Game on Fox as Nigel begs for an early Season 10 pick up from Fox. Whatever it takes, I say. So the last three spots go to three firsts: a stepper, an animation popper and a martial artist. Bring it, Season 9. I'm ready. See you next week, America!
Wait, there's still more? We're not done yet? THREE more routines to go? Man, this one episode a week format means we have to cram in a lot of show in two hours. Top 10 Guy Routine, Top 10 Girl Routine and Mia Michaels Top 20 routine. All coming at ya! Let's go!!
Also, National Dance Day is happening again. Google it if you're interested.
(Doorway to Heaven)
Top 10 Girls (really 9, no Janelle still.) Routine: Choreo by Travis Wall. Song: Where the Light Gets In by Sennen. Concept: All girl Dancers go to Contempo Heaven. It's very ethereal. There's literally a door to back lit heaven and Alexa is ushering them all inside. Once again, Amelia's vampiric skin tone makes her stand out from the crowd. Overall, strong work from the girls.
(No Shirts, No Shoes, Still Service!)
Top 10 Guys Routine: Choreo by Sonya Tayeh. Song: Precognition (Steed Lord Machine Mix) by Steed Lord. Concept. Shirtless guys in maternity pants do male on male choreo action! Guys are shirtless in rehearsal and it's revealed that while most of the guys have abs of steel as you'd imagine, Giant Will actual has a little jiggle going on down there. I instantly feel 100 times better about myself as I scarf down another lean pocket. The boys routine is very strong and several of them are thrown or lifted very high in the air as boy dancers tend to do with other boy dancers. The outfits are very odd, but the dance itself I think is better than the girls.
(Their future is so bright they have to wear shades!)
Top 20 (Really 19!) Routine: Choreo by MIA MICHAELS. Song: Eyes by Kaskade Coacella Live 2012 Version. Concept: Wearing Your Sunglasses at Night with Mia Frickin Michaels! So many dancers on stage! They are a;ll in a line. They do amazingly precise movements! They wear sunglasses! They remove the sunglasses! They leap into each other! They walk around! Look, I'm not doing it justice, folks. It's beautiful. The choreo is slightly altered because there are really 19 of them on stage instead of the full 20. When there is partnering work, one guy is odd man out. I only notice it because I'm looking for it. As comment afterwards, Nigel just says to Mia "Welcome home, Mama, you've been missed." Agreed! Glad to have her back this season!
So no show next week as Cat Deely throws all the dancers a 4th of July BBQ. How exciting that they get to enjoy it this year without the threat of elimination hanging over anybody! Then the following week the partnerships are revealed and we get to see who wants it bad enough to make it to Top 10 and All-Star action! For now, we must wait, but we get to watch an extended amount of the end credits during which the Top 20 free-dance to the show's theme song. That is perhaps my favorite time of the whole show. I'm so glad we're all back together taking this journey again.
Once again, here's your list of Top 20 Dancers! More than half of them are not of legal drinking age. Deep sigh...
Alexa Anderson, 19
Amber Jackson, 21
George Lawrence II, 19
Will Thomas, 19
Matthew Kazmierczak, 21
Dareian Kujawa, 20
Janaya French, 20
Amelia Lowe, 18
Witney Carson, 18
Lindsay Arnold, 18
Nick Bloxsom-Carter, 20
Daniel Baker, 24
Eliana Girard, 21
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, 23
Audrey Case, 18
Tiffany Maher, 19
Janelle Issis, 24
Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, 22
Kung Fu Hustler
Cole Horibe, 26
Brandon Mitchell, 27
See you back here in two weeks, Dance Fans!